Lely Voyager

Time span: 2007

The popularity of grazing is still growing. Not only organic farmers choose grazing to support their business model, more and more we can calculate and see an efficiency in the farm’s business results. In 2007 Lely already introduced the Lely Voyager. An automatic grazing system, that gradually releases the grassland with only half a meter at a time, several times a day. The so-called 'frontal grazing' limited grazing losses because cows could never stand on the fresh grass. At a time of low milk prices, less knowledge of the positive impact of grazing and an engineering focus on our Astronaut A3 in 2007, the Voyager couldn’t set foot on the floor. However, with a few systems still running in the fields and lessons learnt, the Voyager proves its value.

Value to the grass

Grazing fits our vision of a sustainable, profitable and enjoyable future in farming. Iwan Vlaar, Field Testing Engineer for the Vector, was part of the Voyager team in 2007. ‘Grazing can really improve the efficacy; we nowadays get more and more figures that substantiate the gut feeling we had in the past. Cows get a good mixture of nutritional herbal grass. And in combination with a milking robot, the Voyager prevented fluctuations in milk production because you stimulate the cows to get in for milking by not releasing the fresh grass certain times. In that way you also saved labor. The Voyager made use of solar panels, to create its own energy. Nowadays all the principles of the Voyager are still accurate. At that time, it was seen as a nice gadget. However, the test farm of that time still uses the automated grazing system and the farmer updates me with his results. He is positive. Grazing is not just an ideology anymore; it puts value to your grass. The Voyager was its time too far ahead.’

Opportunities for our innovations

Many thoughts that were put into the Voyager are still used. Like the principles of feeding fresh grass with the Exos. Iwan Vlaar: ‘Techniques of the Voyager are also part of the Vector. For example, the building blocks of the software are integrated into the Vector. And the things we learnt on controls and navigating. Knowledge we gained by perfecting the automated control of the rope tension on uneven surfaces, the motor control, is what we see nowadays when the Vector door opens and in the behavior of the Feed Grabber. The software platform of the Voyager is the same as the Discovery, the Juno and the Mix and Feeding Robot (MFR) of the Vector. It’s important to know the origin of the technology we use for our solutions, it helps you understand the opportunities for our other innovations.’

You can see the Lely Voyager at work in the following video: Grazing with the Lely Voyager